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CBI files FIR against two Chartered Accountants in Assam, ICAI says they are not Chartered Accountants

On 12th April 2018, CBI filed FIR against Dr Swetabh Suman, Commissioner of Income Tax (Audit), Guwahati and several other persons in a case of corruption.

According to the CBI, Dr Suman and another I-T officer Pratap Das took a bribe of ₹50 lakhs to pass a favourable order in an appeal filed by Suresh Agarwalla, director of M/s Win Power Infra Pvt Ltd.

Two advocates and CAs, Ramesh Goenka and Amit Goenka, helped in this conspiracy. CBI also recovered ₹40 lakhs meant to be bribe money.

Here is the CBI press release regarding the same:

Press Release issued by CBI

But, a minor but interesting twist appeared in the story. On 13th April 2018, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India issued a press release saying the two Goenkas are not Chartered Accountants. The press release says (emphasis added):

“The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has come across a Press Release issued by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Guwahati wherein it has been mentioned that two of the accused involved in a criminal case i.e. Ramesh Goenka and Amit Goenka arc Chartered Accountants.

On going through the aforesaid Press Release, ICAI, being the regulator of the profession of Chartered Accountants verified its records and found that both the accused are not Chartered Accountants as their name do not appear in the Register of members maintained by the ICAI.”

ICAI also expressed concern that CBI did not verify the records with ICAI before issuing the press release.

“In view of the above, it is a matter of concern for ICAI that in the aforesaid matter CBI did not verify the credentials of the persons in question with ICAI before issuing a statement to the media and public at large.”

They added that they will take up the matter with CBI and request not to issue any such information to media in future before verifying with ICAI.

“The Institute shall be taking up the matter with the concerned authorities of the Central Bureau of Investigation. Guwahati and has pointed out that such statement should not be considered to be issued to media before verifying the facts with ICAI. It would also be requested that in future, if any such case comes for their investigation wherein there is an alleged involvement of an individual claiming to be a Chartered Accountant, the matter may be referred to ICAI for cross verifying the credentials from its records.

The ICAI takes a strong exception to the contents of the Press Release which is incorrect and misleading in so far as the reference to a ‘Chartered Accountant’ was made. In such sensitive cases, the concerned Department ought to have verified the facts with the Institute before issuing any statement wherein the involvement of a Chartered Accountant is suspected.”

Copy of the press release issued by ICAI:

Press Release issued by ICAI

Now it will be interesting to know how CBI got details of persons it is investing got so wrong. Or did the two persons were working as CAs despite not being genuine CAs? If that is the case, that will be another case against them. Hope CBI will clarify the matter.

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Raju Das
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